You lead a company that offers sales performance improvement solutions. Do you really know how and when buyers make large investments in what you sell?

When I ask clients this question, their initial response is almost always an emphatic “YES!” However, when I take them through my research on how buyers actually buy sales performance solutions—from initial concept to purchase—they begin to question their assumptions.

Once we get through this initial shock, I then ask them if their go-to-market, content and demand generation strategies are properly aligned with how their buyers buy. Now they are not so confident that they have all of the right answers. Then I will show them some competitive benchmarks, and by then the answer is usually obvious that they have a lot of opportunities to align more closely with their

You see, working across this industry gives me a unique perspective on sales performance solution buyers. I do win-loss reviews for my clients and over the past few years, I have had nearly 300 in-depth conversations with buyers who have invested at least $100 thousand.

Here are a few findings of interest- some are surprising while others, not so much:

  • About two-thirds of large purchases are driven by strategic initiatives, such as a new leadership with a new strategy, M&A, and closing large, late-stage VC funding
  • The other one-third of large purchases are driven by tactical initiatives, such as on-going activities, renewals, and reparations of clearly identified problems
  • In nearly all situations, the decision to spend on sales improvement is initiated by leadership who are either required to support a strategic initiative, fix a painful problem, or inspired to try something different
  • The actual sourcing is usually delegated down to an operational person in sales ops or L&D, often with a directive to consider certain providers with whom the executive buyer is familiar
  • Buyers search on branded as well as generic problem/solution-type keywords
  • Information that operational buyers need is different from the information that executive buyers need. Operational buyers will need to back-up their decision to consider you
  • Buyers judge you online in a second. If you don’t seem relevant or credible at a glance, then they will not consider you
  • Operational buyers will also not consider you if it is too difficult to find the information they need, or if the information you provide is not compelling

Common Disconnects
Working across the industry also gives me some interesting perspective on how sales performance solution providers market and sell, and where they get disconnected from how buyers really buy. For example:

  • 95% of blog content is tactical tips and tricks targeted at users of the solution, without addressing the most important strategic issues faced by buyers
  • Fewer than 1 in 10 companies address the key triggers that lead to large deals Most PPC investment is directed to generic problem/solution keywords and in most cases, completely ignores branded keywords
  • 9 out of 10 websites contain fatal flaws that will cause buyers to give up on them
  • Most companies in this space claim to help clients faster and cheaper, without providing any proof of how they do so

How to get better aligned with your buyers buying on large sales performance improvement investments

  • Do win-loss reviews to understand why companies really need what you sell and why they choose either you or your competition. Learn how they really buy and align your sales and marketing efforts accordingly
  • Identify the trigger events that are leading indicators of large sales performance improvement initiatives
  • Track trigger events and identify the key players in these organizations
  • Create “strategic” content to position yourself as a credible provider to organizations in which the triggers have fired.
  • When the triggers are pulled, get engaged and stay present in order to build brand awareness
  • Pay attention to the branded keywords that your buyers search
  • Benchmark the buyer’s journey across your website and your competitors’ to identify fatal flaws and important features that you might be missing

Get Help
There’s a reason why most companies don’t do a good job of really understanding buyer behavior and aligning their go-to-market strategies accordingly. It is really hard and really time-consuming. I built my company specifically to help you grow yours.

If you sell sales performance improvement solutions and need to generate and win large, strategic opportunities, then send me an email and we’ll schedule a time to talk about how we can help you. Click Here to Email Me

Dario Priolo

Dario is the CEO and Founder of J.K. Research. He brings over 20 years of marketing leadership experience in the human capital and sales enablement industries.

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